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The Black Phone (2021) – English Review

The creepy guy.

A serial killer who loves to kill naughty boys kidnaps a boy. The boy is trapped in a basement, which is soundproof. But he has a clairvoyant sister who’s trying to find him. In the basement, there’s a broken phone. After a while, it starts ringing, and the boy is talking to some kids that give him hints about the killer and what he should do to survive. Spooky!

The Black Phone is directed by Scott Derrickson, who has directed Sinister (2012) and Doctor Strange (2016). I love Sinister (2012), and Doctor Strange (2016) is also a pretty solid movie.

The plot takes place in the 70s where we follow a boy who is bullied and never fights back. The town is missing several young boys who have been kidnapped by a man driving a black van, and he also loves black balloons.

So it shouldn’t be that hard to find a creepy man driving around in a black van who’s trying to hide his identity, right? Well, the characters in The Black Phone are pretty stupid, especially the young boys who should know better when a strange guy in a big, black van shows up when they know that boys have gone missing lately. But the boys don’t care. They don’t avoid this strange man. Some of them walk up to him when he has picked out his next victim. What a bunch of idiots! 

This is a movie I liked. It has its generic moments, but I liked the atmosphere. I wasn’t sure if Ethan Hawke would work as the serial killer since it’s Ethan Hawke. But he’s solid and creepy, and I also liked the phone calls and how that worked out when the protagonist is trying to escape from his dungeon.

Some of the dialog early in the movie is pretty bad, and so is the line delivery. It’s stiff as fish. There’s no character depth at all. There are some scenes with the protagonist’s dad that don’t go anywhere. He’s a mean drunk, and he hates that his daughter has inherited her mother’s special powers that make her clairvoyant. That’s all. 

The ending could have been better. There’s a scene towards the end that I felt could be a game changer, but nothing happens, so that disappointed me. But I was entertained, and director Scott Derrickson is great at creating tension and a gritty atmosphere.

Rating: 7/10

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